Reader Michael E. writes:
As a Second Amendment enthusiast and gun owner, I do my best to educate as many people as I can about firearms and everything surrounding them from concealed carry laws to learning how to put two shots in one hole at the range. I attend a small to medium sized liberal arts school in Colorado, so I’m often surrounded by anti-gunners and those who question my perspective surrounding firearms.
I try to go out of my way to educate these people as much as possible and have successfully turned more than a few anti-gunners and generated new range buddies.
I have taught many of my friends from different backgrounds how to shoot and the safety protocols that surround firearms. Every one of them now loves shooting. I have also now taught parents of three of my friends how to shoot, most residing on the east coast. One of those sessions, though, wasn’t your typical range session.
My friend’s father was coming in town and relayed to his son that he wanted to shoot with me, so of course I said yes. The only drawback was that my friend’s father, Ed, is blind. That’s right, he’s 100% sightless.
I believe that no matter what physical disability someone has, they still have the right to shoot a gun with the proper instruction. We entered my local shooting range and told the RSO that we would like to rent a couple of lanes and that I would be in the same lane as Ed. Not surprisingly the RSO had quite an alarmed look on his face, but recognized me and gave us the green light.
Along with my GLOCK 19, we rented a SIG P226 and a Beretta 92FS and made our way to our assigned lane. My first goal was to get him familiar with the lane constraints. Once he was comfortable, we moved on to the handguns.
After running his hands and fingers along each side barrier and feeling the edges of the table, he had a picture in his head of his surroundings. After that, I proceeded to hand him my cleared and unloaded GLOCK 19 so he could get familiar with it.
I explained to him where and what the slide lock, magazine release, and slide did and how to use them. Once that was complete and he understood everything, I told him to aim the gun straight in front of him at the target. I then gave him a loaded magazine and, based on our previous instruction, he knew exactly where to put the magazine and how to rack the slide.
The blind man was ready to send rounds down range.
It’s important to note here that I was next to him the whole time with my hands on his arms directing his follow-up shots. After each shot he took, I told him if he was high or low, left or right, and I would slightly adjust his arms toward the center of the target.
After he emptied the GLOCK, we switched to the SIG, and to the Beretta. We went through the same process with each gun, getting familiar with the unloaded firearm and then sending live ammo down range.
As the day went on, his groupings got tighter. He was probably a better shot than most sighted shooters who haven’t had any instruction at all. While unusual, the session was a definite success.
Teaching someone to shoot takes lots of patience and is a big responsibility. The reward at the end, though, is worth it every time.
P.S. Ed loved shooting so much that we went back the next day and shot full auto MP5’s and M16’s.
[ED: August is National Shooting Sports Month. Who have you taught to shoot this month?]
This post was originally published in 2016.